Saturday, July 29, 2017

first plum

It's been four years since I planted two plum trees in my yard. They are probably not planted in the best position, since they are against a south facing wall, and with root competition from other trees. I had chosen two European plums because they are said to bloom later than the Asian plums, and would more likely avoid late frosts. New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, says either Asian plums or European plums can be grown in New Mexico, although the late frosts are more likely to affect the Asian plums.  European plums are said to be better for cooking, and the stores sell Asian plums. I wanted to grow something that couldn't be bought in stores. How could I resist the delicious descriptions of the European plums? Here's Trees of Antiquity description of  'Bavay's Green Gage':

"Bavay's Green Gage is one of the best gages, or old European plums, this is still considered the ideal dessert plum in Europe. Not to be confused with Asian plum called "Green Gage". Bavay's Green Gage has meaty flesh with a rich gage flavor and incredible candy-like sweetness. Juicy, smooth-textured amber flesh is also delicious cooked, canned or preserved. Performs better than the old Green Gage in coastal California. Productive and highly recommended."

They are not as vigorous as the Asian plums, however, and mine have grown very slowly, probably in part to the less than ideal growing conditions. There have been some blossoms in the spring, and unfortunately, even though my resources and the catalogs say they they are good for cross pollinating each other, the 'Early Laxton' and the 'Bavay's Green Gage' I purchased have not bloomed at the same time in the past couple of years. They are said to be self-fruitful, but less productive. I tried hand pollinating (the flowers fading on one tree while the fresh blossoms appeared on the other), but it did not seem to be successful.

Today, sniffing the roses, I looked up to see a single fruit on my 'Bavay's Green Gage'. How thrilling! Testing its firmness, it seemed ripe, and the reason I think I even saw it was because it had developed a golden tinge to the greenness.

I split the tasting with my partner. Tasting it, the description seems accurate. Yes, the rich flavor, the intense sweetness, juicy but not as smooth textured as the description would imply. Delicious. One plum in four years. I hope next year brings on a bunch more.

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